Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) chaired the Senate Budget Committee hearing on President Obama's FY14 Budget Request. At the hearing, the Senator questioned Jeffrey Zients, Acting Director and Deputy Director for Management for the Office of Management and Budget, about the overall priorities in the budget. Specifically, Senator Murray voiced concern that the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF) was cut by approximately 20 percent in the President's Budget, which would be a major blow to salmon restoration efforts across the West Coast. The Senator expressed her belief that this critical program, which has a strong track record of success, must have adequate funding to continue its work.
"It is with great dismay that I once again saw how drastically underfunded the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund is in this year's budget request," Senator Murray said at the hearing. "Funding for PCSRF once exceeded $100 million during the Bush Administration, but with President Obama in office, PCSRF has greatly suffered even in today's austere times and with sequestration, the cuts called for in this program are much greater as a percentage of total funding than for many other programs in the discretionary budget."
PCSRF was established by Congress in fiscal year 2000 to protect, restore and conserve Pacific salmon populations and their habitats, and to address the impacts of the Pacific Salmon Treaty Agreement between the United States and Canada. PCSRF supports the conservation and recovery of Pacific salmon across the rivers, watersheds and coastal habitats they thrive in across Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, and California. Since its inception, PCSRF has supported 8,000 projects restoring 700,000 acres of salmon and steelhead habitat and opening 4,400 miles of streams to fish passage.